Roumania Past and Present eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 315 pages of information about Roumania Past and Present.

[Footnote 130:  The substance of this treaty, which was reaffirmed in later ones, will be found in Appendix II., with some data concerning its history, for which, along with much other valuable information, we are indebted to Prince Jon Ghika, the Roumanian Ambassador at St. James’s, and to Mr. White, our own Minister at Bucarest.]

[Footnote 131:  The word ‘boyard’ originally meant soldier or warrior.]

[Footnote 132:  One of his corps of cavalry were called ‘Scutelnici’ (or substitutes), a term which we shall find applied to government serfs later on; and Vaillant (vol. i. p. 185) says the term ‘scutage’ in England was derived from the same source (scutum, a shield).]

IV.

Before referring to the events which were passing in Moldavia during the period, it may not be out of place to say a few words here concerning another hero, who, although he ruled in Transylvania, was a Wallachian by birth, led the Wallachian armies against the Turks, and for a time succeeded in checking their advance in Europe.  This was John Corvinus, as he is known to English readers, or, more correctly, Johann Corvin von Hunniad, Prince of Siebenbuergen, who was born about the year 1368 in the village of Corvin, in the Wallachian Carpathians.  His father was a Wallachian, some say of ancient family, and his mother a Greek, to whom also a high ancestry is attributed.  As his history was written by flatterers in order to gain the favour of his son and successor, these statements as to his high ancestry must be taken cum grano salis.  Johann was at first the captain of a small party of adventurers, having served, as was the custom in those days, with a troop of twelve horse, first under Demetrius, Bishop of Agram, and then for two years in Italy under Philip, Duke of Milan.  There he met Sigismund, King of Hungary, who induced him to join his standard, and, as a reward for his services, conferred upon him the estate of Hunnyades, from which he took his name.  Subsequently he rose from post to post, until he was appointed Viceroy of Siebenbuergen (Transylvania), and eventually Regent of Hungary.  In the former capacity he formed an alliance against the Turks (about 1443) with Vladislaus, King of Poland and Hungary,[133] and Vlad, Voivode of Wallachia, and under his leadership the Christian armies frequently encountered the Ottomans, notably on three occasions—­at Varna under Amaruth II. (1444) and Cossova (1448), in both of which encounters the allies were defeated, and finally at Belgrade (1456), where the Turks were completely routed.  Various and conflicting accounts have been given of these battles, and of Hunniades’s conduct during the encounters.  At Varna, where Vladislaus was killed, the Poles charged Hunniades with cowardice; but the facts are probably that he defeated the right wing of the Turks, but that the temerity of Vladislaus caused the defeat of the army and his own death. 

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Roumania Past and Present from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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